Yesterday was one of the worst days I’ve had at the Wren’s Nest. We were scheduled to tell stories for about 80 children up in Buckhead, and nobody showed up.
I woke up yesterday morning with two emails in my inbox: (1) “Where is our storyteller?” and (2) “I missed my connecting flight and won’t be able to tell stories in the morning.” In other words, this is pretty much my worst nightmare.
Luckily, the winter before I took a job here, I worked at Aubuchon Hardware on the frozen tundra of northeastern Connecticut.
(Pretty sweet, huh?)
I learned a lot of things, but mostly I learned about what to do when you’re mixing paint and you put in too much red paint coloring and then you only find out after the customer has put some of the paint on his house.
Here’s what I do–
- Apologize (Sorry I messed up your paint.)
- Affirm (You have every right to be upset! Very few people want to live in a pink house, and I feel you, I really do.)
- Explain* (I must have put in too much red because I don’t really know what I’m doing, plus the guy who is supposed to do it just got fired and I’m filling in for him.)
- Apologize Again (Dude, I’m so sorry.)
Note: this is also helpful if you’re making keys and the key doesn’t work the first four times you do it.
Aside from giving the guy his money back, the best thing you can do–I think–is affirm the complaint. Even if you’re sleep-deprived, underpaid, and overworked, protesting is futile. Once you can affirm the complaint and empathize with the customer, you’ve got a small shot at regaining their trust.
Not only do you position yourself as someone who is on their team, but you’re also seen once again as a person and not the idiot who doesn’t know what’s going on.
Aside from that, I don’t know what to do, besides not dwelling on the past and ensuring it doesn’t happen again. Any other suggestions?
*Sometimes, if you do something really boneheaded, there’s no explanation necessary.
In this case, I thought an explanation was necessary because most of the circumstances were outside of my control. Being stranded in a different city at 11 pm is no fun, especially when you can’t find my cell phone number.